Join Date: May 2011
Location: Chino Valley, AZ
In our area, horses have the right of way on the trails. Period. Bikers approaching from the front are supposed to move off the trail a polite distance and remain stationary until the horses have passed and are a safe distance away. If they are coming up behind the horses, they are to call out and ask if they can pass. Not all bikers are aware of this, or care. My friend leads the dude string rides at our barn and had a run-in with a cyclist a couple of weeks ago. The guy got nasty and belligerent with her, even after she politely asked him to slow down and have a care because one of the horses on that particular ride was terrified of bicycles. It is actually posted at the trail heads that horses have right of way first, then bicycles, then hikers/runners.
When I went on a ride a few months ago with one of my friends (we were both unfamiliar with the section of the trail we were on at the time), we had a runner come up behind us. She was soooo quiet that we wouldn't have known she was there except that Aires started acting very nervous, which is VERY unlike him (we were following while my friend led). We moved over to let her pass once we realized she was there, however we asked her if the next time she came up behind horses like that, if she could call out to let them know she was there, as not all horses would react as calmly as ours did (Aires' nervousness consisted of his head up and ears pricked, which is the opposite of his usual trail demeanor of head long and low, and ears flopping).
There was a VERY bad accident on the trail leading up Granite Mountain by our barn (where our dude string rides go) a couple of years ago involving a horse and a cyclist. The cyclist was barreling down the trail with his earphones in and music blasting away. He wasn't paying one whit of attention to where he was going. There was a group of horses coming the opposite way and they didn't hear the cyclist coming at all. They came to a slight rise and the cyclist came flying over the hill. He collided with the lead horse (I believe the riders may have been trotting or cantering...I don't remember). The horse had to be put down right there on the trail and the rider and cyclist were both med-evacked to the hospital with serious injuries. Because of that incident, the Forest Service has started taking better care of that trail system (widened the trails and trimmed back the brush to reduce the number of blind corners) and put the right of way rules in place.
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